Scotland is set to become the most overcrowded country on earth for wind turbines, according to new research by the Sunday Express.
The country now has 2,683 wind turbines capable of generating 5,115MW of electricity, although there are 282 more under construction and a further 2,202 with planning consent.
Once they are all operational, Scotland will have an installed wind power capacity of 12,769MW – the sixth highest in the world behind China, the USA, Germany, Spain and India.
It would also result in the world’s highest density of wind power capacity, with 163MW for every 1,000km2.
At the moment, Denmark has the highest density with 113MW per 1,000km2, although it has halted all new onshore wind farms.
The highest concentration of operational wind turbines in Scotland is in East Renfrewshire, at 374MW per 1,000km2.
The council area, one of the smallest in Scotland, is home to the giant Whitelee Wind Farm, Europe’s second largest.
Elsewhere, South Lanarkshire, South Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Moray, Scottish Borders, North Ayrshire and Highland all have higher levels of wind power density than Denmark.
Highland Council alone already has more wind power capacity than all but 24 countries in the world, with 416 turbines capable of generating 834MW.
Once all those under construction or with planning consent are operational, Highland will have an incredible 1,040 turbines capable of generating up to 3,494MW – more than Japan or Holland and five times as much capacity as New Zealand.
By contrast, other parts of Scotland have very few wind turbines; Dundee has two, Glasgow and Falkirk have one, while Midlothian, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and Inverclyde have none at all.
Ministers have been criticised recently for failing to provide up-to-date figures about the number of Scottish wind farms.
The latest ‘wind farm footprint’ map is now 18 months out of date and the Scottish Government is “considering how to respond” to calls for an updated version.
Despite this secretive approach, more recent information is available from industry bodies Renewable UK and the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
The EWEA last published wind power density figures in 2007, when Denmark again topped the table with 72.5MW of installed wind power for every 1,000km2.
The UK was in 13th position with just 4.4MW of installed wind power for every 1,000km2, meaning that wind farm density has increased more than tenfold in just seven years.
Linda Holt, spokeswoman for Scotland Against Spin campaign group, claimed there was a “conspiracy of silence” about the true number of wind turbines in Scotland.
She said: “Renewable energy is supposed to be the SNPs big achievements, so why aren’t Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon bragging that Scotland is going to be the most turbine-crowded country in the world?
For years the Scottish Government has ummed and ahhed about collecting up-to-date figures on turbine development while the wind industry swamps local authorities with speculative applications, knowing the Scottish Government has rigged the odds massively in its favour.
“No wonder the Energy and Planning ministers have chosen to remain in blissful ignorance about the number of turbines going up in Scotland.
“No wonder the Scottish Government has sat on Scottish Natural Heritage so it hasn’t published any maps showing how much of the country is dominated by turbines.
“No wonder the public has been kept in the dark about the price of Alex Salmond’s wind obsession: devastation on a national scale.
“Only a government trying to dodge responsibility for a failed energy policy stands to gain from keeping information about the true scale and extent of wind farm development secret.
“The SNP has adopted a tactic of seeing no evil, hearing no evil and speaking no evil when it comes to wind turbines.
“This is why so few industrial turbines have gone up in the central belt, and Holyrood will never have its view ruined by turbines.
“Denmark, a model renewable energy country which pioneered wind turbines and derives 39 per cent of its energy mix from wind, has stalled virtually all wind farm development over fears that it damages human and animal health.
“Far from becoming a world-leader in the green revolution, the Scottish Government are fast turning into world-class green monkeys.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said officials were still in talks with Scottish Natural Heritage and the UK Government over the best way to provide “more comprehensive data on wind turbines”
He added: “Scotland is the most energy rich country in the European Union.
“The Scottish Government has set out a clear policy for a balanced energy mix in Scotland which provides energy security for the future which helps to keep the lights on and bills down across these islands.
“Wind farms are a key part of this energy mix and our policy on wind farm applications aims to strike the right balance between Scotland’s massive green energy potential and the need to protect the country’s most scenic and wild areas along with residential amenity.
Our planning process is rigorous, ensuring appropriate siting of wind farms – that has resulted in a ban on wind farm development in areas covering almost a fifth of the landmass of Scotland including National Parks and National Scenic Areas.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding